Reading in seasons: Minister finds rewards in literary discipline
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Bailey McBride Bledi Valca | For The Christian Chronicle
Reading is a discipline. It is my way of keeping my sanity in ministry — and it’s a way to constantly feed myself.

Bledi ValcaI try to read an average of two books per month, but I’ve been able to get through more than 24 per year in the past four years. I use to record what I am reading and receive recommendations for further reading.

I read in seasons. Depending on what I am dealing with in ministry — or what subjects I would like to have better exposure to — I read several books related to one topic to gain a broader perspective. Last year my congregation organized a conference on the integration of faith and work. In preparation for leading the question-and-answer session, I read multiple books on the topic. Later, I took a graduate course on Islam and did another round of reading on that subject. Both of these cycles were rewarding.

Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf. "Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work." Penguin Books, 2014. 336 pages.Regarding the integration of faith and work, I recommend “Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” by Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf. The book asks three basic questions. Why do we work? Why is work so hard? How do we overcome difficulties and find satisfaction in our work through the Gospel? The book traces answers Christians have given to these questions throughout history. This helps shape a Christian worldview in the workplace.

If you are interested in learning about Islam but hope to do so in a more conversational style than you’d find in a typical textbook, then Nabeel Qureshi’s autobiography is for you.

Nabeel Qureshi. "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (expanded edition." Zondervan, 2016. 368 pages.In “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity,” Qureshi gives us an informative overview to understanding Islam. The book also introduces the issues that a Muslim must deal with to convert to Christianity.

BLEDI VALCA ministers for the Tirana Church of Christ in the European nation of Albania. He and his wife, Valbona, have two sons, Lemuel and Liam, and a newborn daughter, Siera. Read more of his book reviews at

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